Top tips for barbecuing
You can cook over wood or charcoal, but make sure you buy your charcoal from a sustainable source. A lot of commercial charcoal is made from felled tropical trees. We like London Log Co, who supply many chefs and restaurants. The charcoal is visibly chunkier and has a slower burn time. Make sure any logs and kindling are kiln-dried and suitable for cookery, so there’s no additional smoke or unwanted tree resin.
Indirect versus direct cooking
Most barbecue cooking requires two temperature zones: indirect means the coals are banked to one side of the grill and the food is cooked on the opposite side. Direct means you put your food over the heat source – this is good for fast-grilling food like kebabs or finishing steaks or chicken thighs. As a general rule, barbecuing with the lid down offers longer, slower cooking – recreating an oven-like environment and maintaining a steady heat. Cook with the lid off for fast grilling and browning or when you need a flame.
The 9 best barbecue kits
Berenjak kebab barbecue kit
If Middle Eastern food is your vibe, the Berenjak barbecue kit is a true feast that will feed 5-6 generously. The box brings together their original Kabab Kit, with their Kabab e Tond Kit, and Mazeh Box to create the ultimate mega-meal for summer. Expect clay-baked Lavash bread, lamb and chicken kebabs, tomatoes for grilling, aubergine, yogurt and hummus dips and so much more. Available from Berenjak Bazaar (£100).
The Heliot Barbecue box by Tom Hixson of Smithfield
Good steak requires little more than a lick of a flame, as this box from third-generation master butcher Tom Hixson in collaboration with Ioannis Grammenos (Executive Chef of Heliot Steak House) demonstrates. Inside is an impressive and elegant grass fed Wexford Valley tomahawk steak, as well as a salt moss aged T-bone which offers a sweet, nutty flavour and creates an incredible crust when it hits the barbecue. This meat is rich in earthy savouriness, and the texture is incredible supple, and the fun doesn’t stop there. For pork lovers, the mouth watering St Louis Ribs will NOT disappoint, and a 3 piece stainless steel BBQ Accessory Kit, which includes a spatula, carving fork, and meat tongs is included as well. We think this box is great value as it serves 8 people. Available from Tom Hixson (from £80).
The Ethical Butcher
The Ethical Butcher offer various barbecue boxes, from a BBQ Basics box featuring steaks, burgers, sausages and chicken thighs, to their Ultimate BBQ box which includes a spatchcock chicken big enough to feed 4-5, along with brisket, riblets, burgers, lamb and pork chops, and Frankfurter sausages. We particularly rated the chicken, which was marinated with Cajun seasoning, soy free, and made for an exciting outdoor Sunday lunch with a side of wedges. For high quality barbecue-ready meat, The Ethical Butcher boxes are not going to disappoint. Available from Ethical Butcher (from £55).
Swaledale steak box
If you have many a mouth to feed, don’t hesitate to order Swaledale’s classic steak box which is overflowing with top quality British beef; from rump, to rib eye to sirloin. When meat tastes this good, all it needs is a little salt and the heat of the grill, and you’re onto a winner of divine simplicity. The box will easily feed a crowd of 6, and if you’re new to trying Swaledale, then we recommend you also try the incredibly meaty pork ribs, from old native breeds such as the Middle White. These can be cooked low and slow on indirect heat, then finished over coals. They’ve scooped up a huge number of accolades for their butcher meat in recent years and when you try the meat, it’s easy to see why. Available from Swaledale (£48).
Provenance barbecue box
Living up to their name, Provenance sell meat with clear traceability, much of it sourced from 3rd or 4th generation farmers who use many of the same traditional farming and husbandry techniques their parents and grandparents did. The Provenance BBQ Box is a feast including succulent pork chops, incredible wagyu steak, sausages, chicken skewers, and burgers of different varieties. There’s an entire garlic and herb boneless chicken which will feed a big crowd, and tastes amazing when cooked off on the barbecue. Also included is a tin of their house rub which will last you all season long. Available from Provenance (£109).
HG Walter Basic BBQ box
HG Walter’s meat supplies hundreds of restaurants, from the River Café to Kriket, so you can count on it being of the highest quality. The meat is often from native breeds, such as Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle or Hampshire Duroc pigs. The animals are reared on small free-range farms, and growing the animals slowly, with natural diets, makes for meat with excellent marbling and fat content, and most importantly, flavour. The Basic BBQ box features an incredible 500g rump steak, pork babyback ribs, burgers, chicken thighs, sausages and lamb steaks. It’ll feed a small army, and it’s fairly priced. Available from HG Walter (from £51.80).
Farm Wilder is a non-profit group of famers and butchers on a mission to ‘bring wildlife back to our countryside’ and sell top quality meat. There is a commitment to sustainability, focusing on regenerative farming methods that encourage biodiversity. All good news as barbecue season reaches its peak… You can create your own box of your favourites: look out for a butterflied shoulder of lamb, lamb and mint burgers, beef burgers, koftas, kebabs and 28-day aged rump steak – all pasture-fed. The meat arrives frozen in eco-packaging, is well-priced and of exceptional quality. The venison and free-range chicken are excellent too. To receive 15% off your order, use the code FARMSTAY15 at the checkout and order by 31 August 2022. Available from Farm Wilder.
Steins at Home barbecue box
Rethink your barbie menus forever with this luxurious box, crammed with top quality barbecue staples, including ribeye steaks and a whole spatchcocked chicken. What makes the difference here is the dressings and heavyweight flavours – think tarragon-packed butter to melt over the chicken, thyme vinaigrette for the salad, and Rick’s own knock-out pepper mix for the steaks. The chilled sea bass ceviche starter brings a lighter note, with lime, pomegranate and coriander. There’s a potato salad too, with a homemade buttery mayonnaise. Individual strawberry cheesecakes in little jam jars round off the feast. This box also contains six 50ml bottles of Tarquin’s gin, with Fever Tree tonic, and a garnish too. It’s not cheap, but when you weigh up quality and convenience, we think it represents good value. Four-course barbecue meal for six, available from Rick Stein (£165).
field&flower are a delivery service bringing award-winning British free-range meat and sustainable fish straight to your door. Perfect for grilling, their BBQ range gives you the option to purchase pre-seasoned and marinated meat to save time prepping at home. We tried the tender rump steaks, super spicy and succulent Piri Piri chicken wings, dry-aged longhorn beef burgers, lamb kofte, drunk rum brisket burnt ends and char sui pork skewers. The cuts of meat were of fantastic quality – we particularly enjoyed the burgers and burnt ends – and for such a generous selection, the value is excellent too. Available from field&flower, (£43).
Want something to drink with it? Try our round-up of the best cocktails in cans and bottles.